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Ohio Initiative Uses AI to Evaluate State Regulations

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said his staff will use an AI software tool, developed for the state by an outside company, to analyze the state’s regulations, numbered at 240,000 in a recent study by a conservative think tank.

by Andrew J. Tobias, The Plain Dealer / February 14, 2020
Scientists are working with artificial intelligence in hopes of being able to better detect cancer.

(TNS) — A new Ohio initiative aims to use artificial intelligence to guide an overhaul of the state’s laws and regulations.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said his staff will use an AI software tool, developed for the state by an outside company, to analyze the state’s regulations, numbered at 240,000 in a recent study by a conservative think-tank, and narrow them down for further review.

Husted compared the tool to an advanced search engine that will automatically identify and group together like terms, getting more sophisticated the more it’s used.

He said the goal is to use the tool to streamline state regulations — such as eliminating permitting requirements deemed to be redundant — which is a long-standing policy goal of Republicans that lead the state government.

“This gives us the capability to look at everything that’s been done in 200 years in the state of Ohio and make sense of it,” Husted said.

The project is part of two Husted-led projects — the Common Sense Initiative, a state project to review regulations with the goal of cutting government red tape, and InnovateOhio, a Husted-led office that aims to use technology to improve Ohio’s government operations

Husted announced the project on Thursday at a meeting of the Small Business Advisory Council. The panel advises the state on government regulations and tries to identify challenges they can pose for business owners.

State officials sought bids for projects last summer, authorized through the state budget. Starting soon, Husted’s staff will load the state’s laws and regulations into the software, with the goal of starting to come up with recommendations for proposed law and rule changes before the summer.

Husted’s office has authority to spend as much as $1.2 million on the project, although it could cost less, depending on how many user licenses they request.

“I don’t know if it will be a small success, a medium success, or a large success,” Husted said. “I don’t want to over-promise, but we have great hope for it.”

©2020 The Plain Dealer, Cleveland. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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